The leader of the effort to study Lackawanna County’s form of government acknowledged Thursday that hundreds of the 6,101 signatures collected to put the issue before voters in the May 21 primary are invalid because of improperly circulated petitions.

Among the petitions insurance executive Chuck Volpe said will be voluntarily withdrawn is one an attorney challenging the proposed government study commission referendum maintains was actually circulated by state Rep. Kevin Haggerty but given to a neighbor to file in violation of state law.

Read More Here

A Pittsburgh City Council bill to put a referendum on the November ballot to ban natural gas drilling may wind up being a meaningless political gesture ”” as well as illegal.

Council approved the bill with a veto-proof 6-3 majority on Monday, over the objections of the city’s Law Department. The bill would let residents vote on amending the city charter to ban drilling as part of a “community bill of rights.”

City lawyers have said in a memo that the charter amendment would be “invalid and unenforceable” because it conflicts with state laws that allow gas production and could lead to residents and businesses suing the city for lost royalties if they’re prevented from leasing gas drilling rights on their properties.

A proposed voter initiative to prevent the sale of Gracedale was removed from the May ballot Tuesday. Northampton County’s election commission voted 3-2 that the proposal does not conform with the county’s Home Rule Charter, effectively removing the proposal from the ballot. Commission members Mary Diggs, Christopher Randazzo and Joan Rosenthal voted that the question violates the county charter. This is not the end for the Gracedale ballot movement, however, as the commission’s decision may be appealed in county court.

Read the story from The Express-Times

City Council on Thursday approved ethics laws that will regulate lobbyists for the first time and limit contributions to inaugurations, transition committees, and legal-defense funds. Council notably did not vote on the most controversial piece of the package - a ballot initiative that would allow Council to loosen restrictions on political activities by city employees.

Of the 45 states whose legislatures hold sessions in 2010, 27 of them have adjourned for the year, and 5 more will wrap up before the end of the month. Of the more than 80 bills dealing with the initiative and referendum process in various states, 51 of them would have reduced citizens’ initiative rights. Thanks to the work of activists in our coalitions, only 3 bills reducing citizen’s rights have passed and become law.

Recently there have been calls to reduce the size of the Pennsylvania State Legislature as a way to trim the budget and reduce government spending.  Earlier this week, Citizens in Charge Foundation president Paul Jacob addressed the issue in Pennsylvania in one of his Common Sense articles. You can read the article here.


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s decision to keep voter referendum questions about Allegheny County’s maligned drink tax off the ballot. The tax originally took effect in January 2008 as a 10-percent levy on poured drinks in bars and restaurants. The revenue was set aside for mass transit. It’s since been lowered to 7 percent.

Read the story from the York Daily Record

Citizen State Coordinators

Fri, Jun 26 by Anonymous

Contact the Citizen State Coordinator in your state to get involved protecting and expanding the initiative and referendum process. If you don’t see a Coordinator listed for your state, click here to apply.


National Citizen Coordinator - Greg Schmid

Click here to email Greg.


Arizona - Eric Ehst

Click here to email Eric


California - Bruce Cohen

Click here to email Bruce


Morning voters in West Lampeter Township leaned toward lifting a 74-year-old ban on alcohol sales in their municipality, an informal survey of early balloting found.
In decisive but not overwhelming numbers, early-morning voters told the New Era they believe alcohol sales would “bring the township into the 21st century” and provide additional tax revenue and jobs.

Read the story at Lancaster New Era

A Berks county lawmaker wants to give Pennsylvania voters an opportunity to have a say on property taxes.  Property tax reform has been debated in the Legislature for more than 30 years without any results.

Read the story from Phoenixville News

With a primary election three months away, campaign politics flared Tuesday at Scranton City Council. Unhappy speakers took shots at the lawmakers running for re-election, then lawmakers took shots at each other.

Council bickered as it chose not to endorse changes to state law sought by state Rep. Kevin Murphy, D113, Scranton. The plan would alter state home-rule charter law to require a voter referendum for “excessive” tax increases by Lackawanna County. It would not directly affect the city.

State Balloting Process

Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

Article XI Amendments
Section 1. Proposal of Amendments by the General Assembly and Their
Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed in the Senate or House
of Representatives; and if the same shall be agreed to by a majority of the
members elected to each House, such proposed amendment or
amendments shall be entered on their journals with the yeas and nays
taken thereon, and the Secretary of the Commonwealth shall causes the
same to be published three months before the next general election, in at

Ballot Qualifications & Schedule

Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

You have no statewide Initiative & Referendum rights, but Philadelphia and Allegeney County (Pittsburgh) have local Initiative rights.


See the results of a poll on support for statewide initiative & referendum here.


Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

Among the earliest initiative and referendum advocates in
Pennsylvania was Charles Fremont Thylor, M.D., of Philadelphia. Dr. Taylor,
one of the movement’s most successful publicists, edited and published its
periodical Equity (originally Equity Series) for over a decade. Thylor
collaborated with Prof. Frank Parsons of Boston in publishing several of
Parson’s reformist works. Parsons’ The City for the People, a guide to the
reform of city government, included a 132-page chapter on initiative,